The Ram Truck team sees a big split between half-ton and heavy-duty buyers. For the lighter-duty pickups, they say it's all about fuel economy and being a daily driver, whereas the three-quarter- and one-ton trucks are all about heavy lifting and hard work. As a result, their buyers have very different priorities.
In a recent interview with Automotive News, Bob Hegbloom, director of the Ram brand, said that's why the coming 2013 Ram 1500 has so much technology aimed at improving the new pickup's fuel economy, such as a new PentaStar V-6, eight-speed transmissions, extensive use of lightweight materials and much more. Although the new truck will not get EPA fuel economy estimates for seveal months, Ram will only say the 2013 half-ton will offer best-in-class numbers. Whether that means overall or in one specific configuration remains to be seen.
Interestingly, as the Ram brand makes more inroads into the truck marketplace — in fact, it has increased its market share 2 full percentage points in the past year — we'd expect to see increased attention on the Ram HDs as well, especially in the form of better fuel economy and use of more advanced materials and powertrain choices. Certainly, there are a lot of fleet buyers out there who would love to save money with better fleet efficiency, both in initial investment and maintenance costs over time, even on their heavy-duty models.
The new 1500 truck is likely to go on sale in the fall, with journalists getting a chance to drive and write about the truck before the end of August. Pricing will likely be announced closer to the actual on-sale date later in the year. You can bet we'll have more to say about all the new chassis, powertrains and all-new interior when we get our shot behind the wheel.